Your morning roundup for May 29, the day after death told the world that the puffy-faced Grandma Bandit was actually a man.
What we watched: Last night, Game Seven of the Eastern Conference finals lived up to the expectations that season-deciding ice wars should. It's difficult to craft an argument that the Bruins didn't deserve to win it. They did.
That it happened with a relatively unstoppable Nathan Horton shot with 7:03 left in a penalty-free contest, affording the visiting Lightning ample opportunity to save their season before a sofa-king DJ queued up a Journey track, was fair and just. They wasn't robbed (though I started spouting conspiracy theories about Boston's Ed-Asner-in-waiting coach throwing extra sticks on the ice in the waning seconds to save his fleshy hide).
That that goal occurred with Steven Stamkos on the ice 22 minutes of game time after a slap shot minced his nose bones, thus justifying the hockey players as Battle of Falkirk warriors angle, may not have been fair and just. But neither is hockey.
Sure, the Lightning don't have a shot to be the next American team to prevent the Stanley Cup from returning to Canada, but hockey fans will remember that Tampa goalkeeper Dwayne Roloson played his fucking tits off last night. And sometimes, temporarily entering the game's lore is better than advancing to play the role of first American team to let the Stanley Cup return to Canada since the 1992-3 L.A. Kings.
In closing, here's some Dan Shaughnessy poetry:
Imagine. A guy named Horton breaks a 0-0 tie in the 53d minute of play and sends his team to the Stanley Cup finals. Anyone want to invest in Nathan Horton's Donuts?
What we're watching: The two best club teams in the world face one another at Wembley for the right to call themselves the UEFA Champions League kings. Barcelona is artistry on grass. When they're at their best, it's an honor to watch them play. Manchester United is a garden in which endless British-tabloid cover heds bloom. They're also pretty much the only team that has a shot to take Barca down. (Hush now, Arsenal fans, and enjoy your off-season).
No, that the match will be played at Wembley (coverage at 2 p.m. eastern on Fox) doesn't make it an Man U home game. And no, the fact that a volcano cloud made Barca push their arrival up a few days, thus requiring a shift in lodging, won't make a damn bit of difference. Nor will the fact that the blaugrana prevailed in the 2009 rendition of this very same match.
There will be an open thread later. If you're the type that stays inside rather than going out and enjoying what's a beautiful (at least here in the 215) holiday weekend Saturday, please chime in. If Lionel Messi doesn't make it abundantly clear why he's supplanted John Elway atop my fanboy list, I swear, I'll stop chattering about soccer until at least August or September. (Video H/T Bob's Blitz)
Yao Better Blues: The Houston Rockets agreed to a four-year deal with the best player in University of Minnesota history who appeared on Cheers a couple times and set the general-manager bar considerably higher when he was with the Timberwolves. Here's one columnist's take on Kevin McHale's reported hiring:
"Kevin McHale is no Rick Adelman. He isn't a Jeff Van Gundy. Or a Rudy Tomjanovich. Or a Don Chaney. McHale is unlike any coach in Rockets history. Never before have they hired a coach with so little time on the bench."
Guh rowl. [Houston Chronicle]
We are all Dave McKenna CXIII: Here's your daily link to Dave McKenna's brilliant "Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," which we'll be posting until the mouth of Dan Snyder's dumbass libel suit gets surgically attached to the anus of that Liebeck v. McDonald's hot-coffee case and its anus surgically attached to Roy Pearson's fancy-pants mouth.
Tennis player realizes it's, like, not cool to lose Grand Slam matches: French Open No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki has never won a major, and she won't until Wimbledon at the earliest. Denmark's finest lost 6-1, 6-3 to Daniela Hantuchova [NYT]. No. 2 seed Kim Clijsters lost a day earlier.
"Since we're No. 1 and No. 2, it means we must be doing something right; it's just unfortunate to lose in a Grand Slam," said Wozniacki, who has yet to win one of the four titles that define careers.
The world-famous Astros fingerblast: The Arizona Diamondbacks trailed the Houston Astros 6-0 after four innings last night. The Houston Astros lost the game 7-6. This clearly did not please some Astros fans. Because, seriously, how can you be a pleased Astros fan? At least at the ballpark, where even a guy named Alan mocks you. (Photo H/T Griffin B.)
Alan Trammell grinned at reporters as they shuffled through a jubilant visitors' clubhouse. "Crazy game, wasn't it?" the Diamondbacks bench coach asked. "You never know in this crazy game." [Houston Chronicle]
Jayson Werth doesn't like new team, sick orphans, kittens, people putting words in his mouth: The Mets ensured that the Phillies would be the first MLB team to reach 32 wins on the season [Philadelphia Inquirer]. Meanwhile, the Washington Nationals .229 hitter Jayson Werth said "things need to change." The former Phillies rightfielder was talking about the team from which he took $126 million.
"What was said, however it was said, what happened from there, where it was taken from there, that's way out of my control," Werth said. "People put my words in my mouth, and people not even there to hear what I say, coming up with all these different things and scenarios I have nothing to do with or what I was talking about."
Oh. [Washington Post].
Don't push it or they'll give you a war you won't believe: Today, in rain-delay antics, it's Wake Forest drawing inspiration from First Blood. [TwitVid]
Today in really bad news...: "Following a thorough examination and assessment of Gary Carter, biopsies were performed this morning from a tumor located in Mr. Carter's brain. The preliminary results are that his tumor appears to be malignant. Once the pathology report is available, which will take several days, we will discuss treatment options with Mr. Carter and his family." [MLB]
For some reason, Ohio State's dominating the bottom of the borderline-news fold: A few tipsters sent that OSU football coach Jim Tressel editorial cartoon from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, but that's more a condemnation of Notre Dame in mine eyes [Plain Dealer].
Also from the Plain Dealer, Tressel's WR Ray Small "backtracked Friday, claiming in separate television interviews that though he committed NCAA violations by selling two Big Ten championship rings while playing for the Buckeyes, he didn't know of violations committed by any other players."